Manmohan Singh formally invited for Kartarpur Corridor inauguration

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–FO spokesperson reaffirms commitment to complete the project on time

ISLAMABAD: Former Indian premier Manmohan Singh has been formally extended an invitation by Pakistan to attend the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor in November on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism’s central figure, Baba Guru Nanak, Foreign Office (FO) said on Thursday.

FO Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, while addressing his weekly briefing said that Kartarpur Corridor is expected to be completed on time and the opening ceremony will take place as per Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment. However, the FO is yet to take decisions on other invitations, the spokesperson added.

On September 30, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said that Pakistan would invite the former Indian premier for the opening ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor. “Kartarpur corridor is an important project, the prime minister has a personal interest in it,” Qureshi had said in a video message.

“After consultations, Pakistan has decided to invite Manmohan Singh to the inauguration, who we hold in high regard. He will represent the Sikh community,” the foreign minister had added.

Days later, on October 3, conflicting reports had emerged pertaining to the former Indian premier’s visit. India’s NDTV had reported that Singh had accepted Pakistan’s invitation but other Indian media outlets had contradicted NDTV’s report.

Kartarpur Corridor is a proposed border corridor between Pakistan and India connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. The inaugural ceremony of the landmark corridor is scheduled for November 9, 2019.

In November last year, PM Imran had laid the foundation stone for the corridor, months after he assumed office after winning majority of seats in the parliament.

India’s cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and other officials had attended the ceremony.